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UFO - 1995 Walk On Water

ALBUM: Walk On Water
LABEL: UFO Records
YEAR: 1995
CD REISSUE: 2005, CMC International (USA), 06076 86239-2


LINEUP: Phil Mogg - vocals * Michael Schenker - guitars * Paul Raymond - keyboards, rhythm guitar * Pete Way - bass * Andy Parker - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Self Made Man * 02 Venus * 03 Pushed To The Limit * 04 Stopped By A Bullet (Of Love) * 05 Darker Days * 06 Running On Empty * 07 Knock Knock * 08 Dreaming Of Summer * 09 Doctor Doctor (1995) * 10 Lights Out (1995)


1995, not a vintage year in hard rock, however, much better than the two previous years. In regards to classic British rockers U.F.O, up to this point they had seen better times, so too Michael Schenker and his own outfit MSG. Both enterprises had released mediocre albums during the 90's, their output during the 80's was much better. U.F.O in particular had released a barrel load of live albums between 1988 and 1995, not sure what the logic was there - my guess? The record company was wanting to extract more earned dosh from you the record/CD buying public. Imagine our surprise when Schenker returned to the U.F.O fold, and the classic lineup from their 1974-1978 era was reunited. A dream made in hard rock heaven perhaps. The reunion was initiated by industry folk in both Japan and Germany, the lineup putting together the material in four months between December 94 and March 95. The album itself was recorded in Los Angeles with Ron Nevison at the helm. According to the band, the intention was to retain the essence of the UFO sound from the 70's, keeping it earthy, but nevertheless keeping one foot in the current day. I'll go on record as saying 'Walk On Water' is a very good record. Though we only get 8 new songs, we get a re-working of a couple of their signature tunes, plus assorted bonus tracks (see below).

The Songs
'Self Made Man' is a changeable appetizer, some fiery guitar lines, some lighter parts in the middle, ebb/flow even.. Paul Raymond provides the organ intro for the southern rocking sound of 'Venus'. Schenker announces his return with some awesome guitar lines on 'Pushed To the Limit', one of the highlights of the album. Tone wise, we're not hearing too much of his trademark sound, there is a load of modern influence in his guitar arsenal. There's more southern guitar influences on 'Stopped By A Bullet' and 'Running On Empty'.. acoustic guitar is apparent throughout both of these, not discounting Schenker's electric solo heroics. 'Darker Days' and 'Knock Knock are very reminiscent of their older stuff, while lyrically, we see Phil Mogg continuing his focus on the downtrodden and unfortunate with the track 'Dreaming Of Summer', I wonder if he read too much into Jethro Tull's 'Aqualung' from years past? The jewel in the crown on this CD are the two reworkings of 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Lights Out'. Though I've seen a ton of other acts pay tribute to these two songs over the years (check out You Tube), they can't quite do it like the original masters can!

In Summary
It's been said that the production isn't the greatest on this album, but the fact remains that when this incarnation of the group gets together, a certain kind of magic is created. 'Walk On Water' saw various versions of CD releases around the world between it's original release date of 1995, right through to 1998. As a result, the track listing changes quite a bit between versions, from CD's with 10 tracks, to 13 tracks. The first eight songs are consistent across the variations, coupled with different bonus tracks, including the two reworkings of 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Lights Out' which appear on some but not all releases. Not quite sure what the record executives were thinking, and why did they have to create a handful of different album covers as well? Unfortunately Schenker and the rest of the band would go their separate ways once again, with John Norum and Vinnie Moore taking over the six string duties, Moore now the incumbent to this day. For what it's worth, 'Walk On Water' is perhaps an apt title when you consider this lot were gods of the hard rock scene back in the 70's.

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#1 | dangerzone on May 27 2010 12:47:20
This is still the best UFO album since the early 80's. 'Pushed to the Limit' is also their best track with Schenker since he left in the 70's.
#2 | tompa on September 18 2013 16:19:52
Re-union albums are rarely this good!

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